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"The Philadelphia Carmel: The Birthplace of Devotion to St. Therese of Lisieux in the United States," February 17, 2019

Maureen O'Riordan presents to the American Catholic Historical Society in Philadelphia about the Philadelphia Carmel as the birthplace of devotion to St. Therese of Lisieux in the United States. February 17, 2019. Photo credit: Thomas Rzeznik

 On Sunday, February 15, 2018, I had the honor of presenting this fascinating chapter in our history to the American Catholic Historical Society in Philadelphia.  I am most grateful to the ACHS, especially to Thomas Rzeznik, Associate Professor of the Department of History at Seton Hall University, who arranged for me to speak as part of the ACHS series on local history and who promoted and produced the event flawlessly. 

Photo of the audience at "The Philadelphia Carmel as the Birthplace of Devotion to St. Therese of Lisieux" at the American Catholic Historical Society in Philadelphia. February 17, 2019. Photo credit: Thomas Rzeznik

 The lovely historic house which is the ACHS's home was filled to capacity, a testament to the enduring popularity of St. Therese in Philadelphia.  I was delighted to meet some friends from Old St. Joseph's, several readers of my Web site, and a number of  graduates of my alma mater, Little Flower Catholic High School. One of them had been on the pilgrimage to France and Rome sponsored by Little Flower to celebrate the canonization of Sts. Louis and Zelie!

The ACHS was most generous in giving me the chance to do justice to the "four foundresses," the young women (three from the Church of the Gesu) who founded our Carmel in 1902 and, while praying, working, and waiting patiently to build the present monastery and form the applicants who came, set the city of Philadelphia and later the whole country on fire with love for St. Therese.

Listen to a radio show on the same topic

One of the guests, Barbara Shinkle, interviewed me for Holy Spirit Radio a few days before the event.  Please listen to the interview about the Philadelphia Carmel as the birthplace of devotion to St.  Therese in the United States.  To listen, click the link above, choose "2019 Archive," and then select the date February 14, 2019.

 Read my four articles reporting on this story through 1911

Click for Open lines of research on this topic, which I would be pleased to help you pursue. You can always reach me by clicking the "e-mail" link on any one of my three Web sites.

To place this presentation in the context of the worldwide growth of Therese's cult, please see this fascinating 2011 doctoral thesis by Sophia DeBoick:  "Image, Authenticity, and the Cult of Saint Therese of Lisieux, 1897-1959."  Carefully researched and written and beautifully illustrated; I can't recommend it highly enough.

For various important events in the rise of St. Therese's cult, please see my page Storm of Glory: St. Therese 1897-2019.

 About Saint Therese:

For some free online films embedded here, see "films about Saint Therese."

To learn more about the spirituality of St. Therese, please click this link.  Prophet Elijah Media Store is distributing audio of three conferences I presented at a day of recollection at the Carmel of Santa Clara, California in November 2017:

"A Map of St. Therese's Way of Confidence and Love"

"How Can We Love One Another?  St. Therese's Practice of Sisterly Love in her Carmelite Community"

"Saints Louis and Zelie Martin: Lay Persons, Spouses, and Parents"

These three conferences are available as MP3 files, so you can download them and listen to them as soon as you order them.  Thank you very much.

For more about my apostolate for the spirituality of St. Therese and the Martin family, please visit

 About Maureen O'Riordan

A note about using this site:

Much information is on the site through its blog, and this information does not appear in the navigation section.  So please either scroll chronologically through the blog or use the search box to locate what you would like to know.  This applies, too, to my other two sites, listed below:

Please see my site "Saints Louis and Zelie Martin, the Parents of St. Therese of Lisieux," which, on its front page, contains a photo gallery of the life of the Martin family in chronological order.

Please see my site "Leonie Martin, Disciple and Sister of St. Therese of Lisieux."  Leonie became a Visitation nun at Caen, and the diocesan inquiry into her possible beatification was opened in 2015.

Note that, if you are a Facebook user, each site has a Facebook page with the same title as the site.  You can "like" the page and click "notifications."  This is an easy way to stay up to date when I post something new.

Thank you!  

Posted on Wednesday, February 20, 2019 at 05:01PM by Registered CommenterMaureen O'Riordan | CommentsPost a Comment

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